MTGA | Friday Night Meta | March 2021 Week 2 | Stop the Lifegain

Hey Planeswalkers! 

Welcome to this week’s Friday Night Meta update! The goal is to equip you faster with information in a fast evolving game, and to get you the right information to help you make the decisions you need to make! This is intended to be a comprehensive view with a lens from Magic the Gathering Arena with impacts from the MTG gaming scene.

You can check out the weekly coverage here:

Last Week’s Episode

Last Week’s Piece

Feb Tier Lists:




Kaldheim impacts from the MPL unfold.  We begin to see the start of some convergence in both win rates as well as percent played spread.  People started to pile into Mono White for BO1, and Mono Red was cut significantly in BO3 as the most played deck.  Sultai Ultimatum becoming the most popular BO3 deck.  We see Temur turns, and Naya Adventure shells seeing some pull through as well as a rise in Jeskai Cycling (I did a Archetype brief history piece here if interested).

Personal Note

I want to continue to thank everyone in this sub as well as the MTG echo system, as I always love to hear your feedback, and you treat me well.  More than I could ever express minus this tiny note of gratitude. This past week I had a personal record of hitting Top 50 in BO1, and I did it on stream.  It means the world to me to continue to share in this Journey together, and certainly has been an outlet for me during this crazy COVID Pandemic, and winter!


As a whole we see mono red snows winrate rebounding a bit, as mono white lifegain begins to continue the acceleration of seeing more action.  Now as I’ve called out in the past a broad brush stroke for gold to mythic generally there is a narrowing of bands between decks vs win rate disparity.  However, this week it’s key that we call out a difference in Diamond+.  Mono White Life Gain is now the most played!  However, we begin to see real real tight pressure on the win rates representing a very healthy meta! When we look into this more the top 5 is no longer dominated by aggro, and more deck diversity is ensuing.


Here is probably one of the most noteworthy pieces for this week.  Hence why I called this week’s episode BO1 & BO3 dichotomy! Between the two metas they no longer look the same.  It’s not all aggro across the board and we have seen some full impacts coming forward in meta differences between the two game types.  Even more so, Mono red has fallen further in the top 5 while Sultai Ultimatum continues to grow, and Temur Turns spiking.  There is also huge play going on with Cycle decks! Many of you have asked me during livestream, and YT to circle back on the new Pyro version only another data point of its popularity as well as performance which I will get to later.

Ultimately, these are the kinds of cycles within the meta we would expect, and see play out as it has unfolded.  I believe there is still a decent spot for a stronger midrange – unless its the Naya Adventures deck that comes to fruition or this resurgence of Rogues.  Now, we can’t forget about Gruul Aggro tho, and I will touch on this in a bit along with some other thoughts.  The one thing to continue to watch, is mono red was never bad.  Again, it’s a perception and I believe we misinterpret results at times because its always about the meta in the meta my friends! The Pros turn up to play the Pros so if everyone is playing mono red you should certainly play counter to that!

How To – Outlast Mono White Lifegain

This week we talk about how to outlast Mono White.  As this has quickly replaced Mono Red Snow Aggro as the most played deck in BO1 we need to find a nice hard fast counter.  A deck that has a nice matchup vs Mono White Lifegain is Sultai Ultimatum.  Sultai Ultimatum has certainly been a benefactor in the rise of the Mono White Lifegain archetype, and is the one currently setup to gain the most in winrate.  It absolutely destroys Mono White, one Shadow’s Verdict and it is pretty much Game.  The ability to recover from that is rough.  Mono Whites win rate against Sultai is pretty abysmal.  So, for those in the Diamond+ space, your probably best playing this deck!

Event Impacts

This past week saw the SCG $5K Strixhaven event.  There were a number of qualifying events that led into this, and I drill into the main events results.  A couple of key items to note here, as we have seen some impacts from the event, and some call outs.

BadaBOOM! Jeskai Cycling taking down the tournament! Makes sense right? With that said, Cycling continues to put up real results, and we see it creeping higher as previously discussed.  Additionally, when looking at some of the top decks here as well as percent wins there are a couple items to touch on:

  1. Gruul Aggro/Adv had a 65%+ winrate
  2. Sultai Ultimatum once again sub 50% winrate
  3. Mono Red Snow had a decent performance
  4. Rogues took 2nd

Its tournaments like this I think tell us a bit more in terms of something like the MPL as there just is more players, and things decks need to take into account when it comes to performing over multiple matches.

What’s Next

As always we will keep an eye on any major events headed into the weekend and circle back on what unfolded next week.

Just some thoughts and highlights.  This week we saw a new archetype perform incredibly well, something I’ve been calling for in our discord server – Azorius Control.  This is certainly a flavor town with an enchantment shell, banish into fable, and the over hyped under played DOOMSKAR! I certainly would like to give a healthy shout out to Mythic Matt on this one who made top 5.

We will continue to keep an eye on all things, aside from this new archetype it’s worth watching Gruul Aggro, Rogues, and Mono Red at an aggregate capacity.  I think some of these shiny object decks might be losing their luster.


I leverage multiple sources like untapped.ggs companion app stats, MTGAzone, Aetherhub, twitter, personal gameplay, tournament matches (mtg melee,, this reddit as well as others, personal stats, and consistently hitting Mythic and  Mythic Qualifiers.

One last thought I would like to share: 

If you have a competitive deck (different than one featured) I am always happy to do a piece on it time permitting. I have several folks that ask, and have done several player featured decks. I rather enjoy this so please don’t hesitate to reach out or ask. I always try to prioritize with the following and timing or relevance – MTGA Rank (1500s)/Top Tournaments down to Plat2Mythic Decks.

I wholeheartedly welcome any feedback on how to meet your needs as well as improving your experience!  Additionally, for the near term my focus will be on Standard, and I hope to organically add in Historic in the future.

Thank you for your time, and hope you enjoyed this week’s piece!

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